Publications

- May 1, 2019: Vol. 31, Number 5

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U.S. economic expansion nears 10 years

by Loretta Clodfelter

The U.S. economy is at full employment and GDP growth accelerated in 2018, but many have begun to worry about a future recession, with consensus forecasts placing the downturn two years out.

“There’s no obvious sign that there’s an end to the cycle, but there’s a few warning signs,” said Mike Acton, head of research at AEW, at a research presentation in San Francisco in March.

But while the cycle may not be showing signs of a precipitous end, it is getting quite long, with 10 years of expansion. If that continues through June, this will be the longest expansion in U.S. history.

“We’re soon to be in uncharted territory,” said Acton.

Policy may affect the timing of any future downturn, with a trade war moving up the timetable, whereas an infrastructure spending bill could extend the cycle even longer. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, along with a new federal budget last year that ended deep cuts from the 2013 budget sequestratio

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